Champions League Quarter-finals: Another Comeback For United?

Barcelona v Manchester United

Barcelona have a one-goal advantage from the first leg at Old Trafford and are unbeaten in their last 30 home Champions League ties, but I feel United will give them plenty to think about in the Nou Camp although I do feel it will be the Spanish side who qualify for the semi-final.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer returns to the scene of his greatest night in a Manchester United shirt when he came off the bench to score the winning goal in the 1999 Champions League Final against Bayern Munich.

United have already shown in Paris that they can overcome a first leg deficit and I wonder if Barcelona – who have kept clean sheets in their last three games – will not know whether to stick or twist with a slender one goal lead from the first leg.

I feel United will score but it might not be enough for another memorable comeback success.

Tip: Game to finish in a draw at 21/5

 

Juventus v Ajax

Juventus are looking to make the semi-finals for the third time in the last five seasons, but Ajax will take heart from the fact that the Serie A champions and runaway league leaders have lost two of their last five home ties in the competition. Ajax, meanwhile, have won their last two on the road including in the Bernabeu in the previous round.

Ajax have not reached the semi-finals since 1996-97 and I think they will just fall short in Turin although I expect them to give Cristiano Ronaldo – who has scored in his last five Champions League ties with Ajax – and his teammates a real fright in the Juventus Stadium.

Tip: Juventus to win and both teams to score at  12/5

FC Porto v Liverpool

Liverpool are unbeaten in their seven previous European ties with Porto and I expect them to win in the Estadio de Dragao although it is unlikely to be as emphatic a scoreline as last season’s last 16 tie when the Reds romped to a 5-0 success.

Porto have won all four of their home games in the competition so far this season, but they have not met a side of the calibre or European pedigree of Liverpool who returned to the top of the Premier League table with victory over Chelsea on Sunday.

Tip: Liverpool to win at 11/10

 

Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur

City returned to the top of the Premier League table – however briefly – with an excellent performance at Selhurst Park on Sunday when Raheem Sterling again showed what a vital cog he is to the City machine.

Spurs were able to rest a number of key players against Huddersfield at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium at the weekend and this is a difficult game to call as a result of Sergio Aguero’s early penalty miss in the first leg.

I expect to see opportunities at both ends. This is the start of a massive week for City who entertain Spurs back at the Etihad at the weekend in the Premier League before the Manchester Derby at Old Trafford next midweek.

City to win with Sterling again to the fore.

 

Tip: Raheem Sterling to score at anytime at 23/20

 

Midweek treble: Liverpool, Juventus and Manchester City at 4/1

*Odds were correct at time of publishing the article

Michael Owen

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Michael Owen is a former football player, played striker for Liverpool, Real Madrid, and Manchester United. He has represented the England national team at three World Cups and after his goal against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup was voted the 2nd best goal of the 20th century, he was awarded BBC Sports Personality of the Year. He is the last Englishman to win the Ballon d'Or, receiving the honor in 2001.

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